The Charity Shop Tour Shop

Exhibition poster

Exhibition poster

I went to the opening of this exhibition of work of a friend of mine, Lorsen Camps. The exhibition consisted of a collection of objects, from toys to furniture to stickers all brought from charity shops across the country by Lorsen. Alongside these objects Lorsen, Dave Gary, Jamie Randall  & Ben Rowe had created art work as a response to the objects that Lorsen had collected from a variety of charity shops.

Lorsen’s tour focused on ‘seeing the beauty in the disregarded’, many of the objects were odd, and most probably if seen in the context of a messy charity shop could have been overlooked easily, dismissed as rubbish or kitsch. But displayed in the gallery, some in draws of cabinets, some along the walls, they gained a second light.

As I watched, people in the exhibition were discussing what the objects were, questions like ‘do you recognize this toy?’ or ‘what show was that from’? filled the gallery. People eyes lit up and smiles crept across faces as  they recalled childhood memories or marveled at the artists responses to the finds.

Various finds hidden inside a cabinet

Various finds hidden inside a cabinet


Felt piece

Felt piece (unknown name)

I particularly liked the piece of work pictured above.

It’s a piece of work which is made from felt, and is an abstract version of a toy. I don’t know exactly what makes me like it, maybe the colours, the clean shapes/lines. I even like the old/worn looking frame. I like the simplification of the toy to this, shapes and form, simple, but still reflective of components of the original item.

I’ll finish my current thoughts with a conversation I eavesdropped on while at the opening. Two people (who I’ve never met or heard of before), were discussing a painting that was hanging up, one that was untouched/altered simply displaying as a painting found on the charity shop tour. One man turned to the other and said, pointing at the painting “I think we might have found something here that’s a real piece of art. I think it could be really worth something”. The other man nodded, and they said some more things, which I couldn’t care to listen to.

In my mind this seemed to be a very odd conversation. Firstly they were stood in a room filled with all kinds of art, what made them say this was “real art” and the rest was not? Then comes the question of worth – what made them think it was “really worth something”? Was it because it was skillfully painted, or reminded them of an existing popular artist, or because they preferred it to everything else?

I wanted to say to them, who were they to decide the worth of one piece of work compared to another. But this seemed a foolish conversation to enter into, so I wandered away keeping my thoughts to myself until now…

You can find out more about Lorsen here:


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